Ichiro’s Malt Full Card Series Smashes Record At Bonhams HK

Today we saw a busy day of whisky auctioning at Bonhams Hong Kong and it was a huge day for Japanese whisky, as the Ichiro’s Malt Full Card Series broke the world record for the most valuable Japanese whisky collection ever to go at auction, fetching a whopping $7,192,000 (US$0.92m).

The Full Card Series broke its own record by more than $3,500,000 ($US0.44m), beating the sale of $3,797,500 (US$0.49m) in 2015. 

The Ichiro’s Malt Card Series is one of the rarest, most sought after collections in world whisky. Inspired by a deck of playing cards, it is made up of 54 different expressions, with each and every card represented, including the Jokers.

Independent bottler, Ichiro’s Malt, was setup by Ichiro Akuto after the family business, founded by his grandfather and managed by his father, ran into financial difficulties and was forced to close down. Ichiro took charge of the remaining liquid from the company’s legendary Hanyu distillery and began bottling and releasing it in 2006, with the first release being the King of Diamonds.

This first expression was immediately recognised for its quality, picking up a Gold Medal in the Japanese Whisky category in The Whisky Magazine. Over the next eight years, Ichiro’s Malt would release the other 53 expressions culminating in the Joker bottle in 2014. Each and every one of the bottlings was simply fantastic and owning the entire collection became the stuff of dreams.

Today, one lucky bidder got to make that dream a reality, while breaking a world record at the same time, and with no other Full Card Series in sight, they may well hold on to that top spot for some time to come.

Other notable sales at today’s auction include: Karuizawa 1960 33 Year Old (US$94,868), Yamazaki The Century 1960 40 Year Old (US$63,245), Ichiro’s Malt Ace of Spades (US$31,622), Karuizawa 1984 30 Year Old (US$23,717) and Hibiki Kutani 35 Year Old (US$44,271).

A number of old and rare expressions from Chichibu, Hanyu, Karuizawa, Yamazaki, Hibiki, Hakushu and others also fetched large sums, once again highlighting the huge, rapidly growing, demand for Japanese whisky.